Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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Outtakes—Hawkshaw Memories

By Rick Ouzten

Ten years ago, Inweekly, friends, and family put on a two-day music festival, Hawkshaw Music Fest.  You probably don’t remember it, but it was our attempt to offer the community a music festival to replace the defunct Springfest and honor our military.

We lost our butts, but we, our readers and over 5,000 service men and women loved it. Hawkshaw introduced the Gulf Coast to the Zac Brown Band, who went on to win three Grammy Awards. We also had Cowboy Mouth, Mayday Parade, the late Col, Bruce Hampton and other acts.

Quint Studer talks about the “unconsciously incompetent,” those who are hired for a new job or start a business without really understanding how little they know about the job or business. We were the poster children for the unconsciously incompetent, underfunded but convinced it would work.  Imagine Hangout without the beach or t-shirts…or big name acts.

Michelle Sarra handled finding the bands. She was part of Springfest in its heyday and had put on outdoor music festival across the Southeast. Michelle took off a week to help us pull the event off.  She and her right hand, Nora Jones, made us look like professionals.

Jeff DeWeese was the money man and our biggest cheerleader in the community. Jeff was in the front seat of our roller coaster—laughing one minute and scared the next. He was our liaison with NAS Pensacola.

Steve Sharp, Jason Clark, and Cat Outzen were lifesavers. Steve handled security and safety. We had no accidents or problems over the two days thanks to Steve’s diligence and the help of Sgt. David Goldsmith of the Pensacola Police Department.

Jason had the tough job of spreading out a small band of volunteers over the two-acre site, the parking lots north of Commendencia Slip. Many stayed beyond their assigned shifts and worked both days. April Williams, Matthew and Brenda Roehrig, Michael Boland and Will Hughes were real difference-makers.

Cat managed both the VIP and Band hospitality tents. The Outzen women—Cat, Tricia and Claney—and the Inweekly staff held court and made everyone welcome. Tricia’s future husband, Tom Coady, transported Zac Brown’s manager and band from Paradise Inn on Pensacola Beach to the venue in his 2001 Dodge Stratus.

All the bands were overwhelmed with our hospitality and mingled with the concert goers. They left with warm, positive impressions of Pensacola thanks to the care of our volunteers. The military, who were bussed from NAS Pensacola, felt our appreciation, too.

Though we never got competent at promoting concerts, for two days in May 2007, we created some wonderful memories.